Recording and Production in the News
ADA-8XR: at the heart of Anthony Jackson's new bass libraryNew York, USA, November 2007: Prism Sound's top-of-the-range A-D converter, the ADA-8XR, was the vitally important interface in the recording chain during the recent sessions for 'BassVI', a 37-Gigabyte premium-quality sample library created by bass legend Anthony 'AJ' Jackson and released by New York company Harper/Ferrari. "The ADA-8XR was the only A to D converter that satisfied AJ's very high standards", explains Harper/Ferrari's Tom DeRenzo.
BassVI sample library
Ask a bass player anywhere in the world who inspired them to pick up their instrument, and many of them will answer: the late James Jamerson, regarded by most as (quite literally) the foundation of Motown's success in the 1960s, and one of the 'forgotten heroes' of pop music highlighted in the fabulous 2002 film 'Standing In The Shadows Of Motown'. But if you ask a player to name an influence who is still alive, you'll often hear a different name: Anthony Jackson, also known as AJ. Like Jamerson was for many years, Jackson is a musician who has achieved international recognition primarily amongst other musicians, for his mastery of the bass guitar, and for what he has done to further bass-playing technique and the development of the electric bass itself. In collaboration with respected bass luthiers such as Fodera, Jackson is renowned for his invention of the contrabass guitar: that is, the six-string electric bass that gives its name to the new library.
Jackson's playing can be heard on recordings and live performances by Madonna, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan. His is the famous upfront bass on the O'Jays' 1973 hit 'For The Love Of Money', which has enjoyed renewed popularity in the USA over the past three years as the opening theme to the US version of the international hit TV show 'The Apprentice'.
Harper/Ferrari's BassVI sample library seeks to capture the sound of AJ's contrabass guitar playing, offering users control over bass samples in an extraordinary variety of articulations via a GVI GigaStudio software instrument. Casey Conrad and Tom DeRenzo of Harper/Ferrari were responsible for ensuring that the recordings for the library lived up to AJ's traditionally high expectations. "AJ was clear about it before we started," explains DeRenzo. "He wasn't going to do this library at all unless it was done to the highest technical standards. He wanted this to be the best bass library out there, in terms of the basic recording quality, in terms of the performance articulations available on the disc, and also in terms of the control a user of the library would have over the sound of his Fodera Presentation contrabass guitar, which is the focus of this library. When AJ's in the studio, he can DI his guitar and also mike it up, and he can blend the two to create his final bass sound, and what he really wanted was for users of the library to have the same creative freedom."
To this end, Clinton Recording, one of New York's only remaining studios with a recording room large enough to seat a full-sized orchestra, was hired for the three-month duration of the project, and the Harper/Ferrari crew discussed the finer points of the recording path with the team at Studio Consultants, one of New York's longest-established equipment supply companies. Together, they assembled a premium-quality signal path, with the contrabass passing through a Countryman DI, Millennia Media preamp, and API EQ in its DI version, and being recorded via a set of Meyer CQ-1 speakers and a Neumann U47 mic for the amplified signal. Both recording paths were reunited in a Neve 8078 console before being passed to a Pro Tools HD rig via the Prism Sound ADA-8XR A-D converter. "We auditioned other converters," explains Tom DeRenzo, "but after listening, AJ was in no doubt. It had to be the Prism."
For more information on the BassVI library, head for www.BassSix.com. "Anthony is always meticulous in any recording he plays on, and this library was no exception," concludes Tom DeRenzo. "A lot of time and care was put into its production, as is appropriate for a musician of his stature. Prism Sound's ADA-8XR was a vitally important part of that process."
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